Cloud Storage Expansion Presents Security Risks for Employers

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Cloud storage and collaboration companies are quickly moving to provide lower cost, higher value services that pull consumers in with tightly integrated service offerings. That presents a big problem for modern organizations concerned with data security. Considering the potential security issues associated with cloud storage and the costs associated with a data breach, employers must be more mindful than ever of how the cloud affects daily data security.

How prevalent are cloud storage tools?
Between the cloud options offered by Google, Microsoft, and Apple, cloud storage can play a huge role in employees’ digital lives. In fact, it has become difficult to avoid storing documents in a cloud-based environment as devices and services often come with cloud-based features activated by default and designed to push data automatically during daily usage. A recent Cisco Global Cloud Index report notes that by 2018, 53 percent (2 billion) of the consumer Internet population will use personal cloud storage, up from 38 percent (922 million users) in 2013. The report also predicts consumer cloud storage traffic per user will be 811 megabytes per month by 2018, compared to 186 megabytes per month in 2013. As this report shows, there doesn’t appear to be a foreseeable slowdown in consumer cloud storage adoption.

Why rapid cloud growth matters to the modern organization
Despite the prevalence of cloud storage solutions, they leave much to be desired in terms of data security. When sensitive data is floating in a cloud-based environment, it is vulnerable to both hacking and human error. The companies that own the servers on which data is housed may also have policies and vulnerabilities that are incompatible with secure data handling practices. Therefore, those organizations responsible for maintaining sensitive or regulated data – such as banks, credit unions, and healthcare organizations – should be mindful of the aggressive expansion of cloud services into the consumer market.

What can be done?
Based on the rate of adoption and forecasts for the future, widespread use of consumer cloud storage might be inevitable. With that in mind, organizations must move to enact policies and procedures for safe data handling backed by tools that support simple, secure file-sharing and collaboration. By helping employees do their jobs faster and better while still remaining secure, companies can stay ahead of the curve and reduce data exposure risk.

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